Wolf in the Woods – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

Kings & Spies – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 9.9% ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)


from the seacider.ca website:

Botanically infused with hops and grand fir needles, Wolf in the Woods is a hard apple cider with a timberland twist. This unique union creates a dry cider that leads with grapefruit aromas and finishes with hopped herbal notes. As part of our Canadian Invasion Series, Wolf in the Woods draws attention to invasive species and their threat to farms and natural areas alike. Raise a glass of Sea Cider to the rainforest!

The Story:
As part of the Canadian Invasion Series, Wolf in the Woods was created to continue our awareness campaign around invasive species and their implications in farming and the natural world. A few years back, Sea Cider owner Kristen Needham, planted some hops on the perimeter of the Sea Cider forest to be used in our first hopped cider, Tillicum. Little did we know at the time, hops have many invasive qualities – spreading by underground rhizomes that can quickly get out of control. Wolf in the Woods was born as a juxtaposition of the agricultural landscape and the natural world. By combining grand fir needles that we’ve collected from the forest on Sea Cider Farm and Pacific Northwest grown hops, we’ve created a unique union of farmed and wild. Wolf in the Woods is here to tingle your senses with botanical delight!

Tasting Notes:
Appearance: Clear, bright, light verdé
Aromas, flavours: Grapefruit, pine, rainforest and hopped notes
Acid/sweetness: Off-dry, good acid balance
Mouthfeel: Soft astringency, gently effervescent

Suggested Food Pairings:
The balanced botanicals of Wolf in the Woods pair well with salty and fried foods – try french fries and jalapeño poppers. We’d even tackle the spiciest Indian and Mexican dishes with this rainforest wonder!


  • Style: (flavoured – grand fir, hopped) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Short-bodied off-dry crisp fizzy red apple yellow grapefruit sour light fir
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $16.65 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 750ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: nah, too plain

Visual: Bailer top re-sealable bottle. Pours clear light apple juice yellow with no head, soda-like big CO2 activity, big bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Nose: faint apple juice, restrained fir aroma (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp, fizzy-tart

Mid-palate: off-dry (lvl-2-sweetness), fruity red apple, muddled yellow grapefruit, medium sour-puckery

Finish: fleeting fir exhale, residual tart sticky gum acidity

Summary: The crisp, fizzy, dryish mouthfeel are pleasant but there isn’t a whole lot of lengthy or bold flavours. The apple is neither woody or fleshy; the grand fir is only slightly noticeable at the finish; overall the taste experience is rather tart and thin, not leaving much of an impact.

Tillicum Hopped Cider – Sea Cider (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

Tillicum Hopped Cider – Sea Cider , 9.0% ABV – 750ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“Greetings friend! ‘Tillicum’ is a friend informal greeting used among some First Nations in the Pacific Northwest. We think it’s the perfect name for our hopped cider, which is best enjoyed informally with friends. A cider infused with a special blend of hops, including fresh hops from our farm, Tillicum provides big, hop-forward aroma and bright citrus flavours to match. To our friends, we raise a glass of Tillicum!”

  • Style: (hopped) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Woody apple-lemon sour hopped cider
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) – 750ml., October 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: Bottled in a clear bail top bottle. Pours clear golden yellow with initial fizz, no head, a only a few singular active streams.

Nose: woody tangy apple, underlying lemon citrus tang (Smells inviting) (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: tingly-fizzy mouthfeel, incoming sourness

Mid-palate: medium sour-tang, gentle (lvl-4) fruity sweetness, (MAIN) lemon, woody apple, citrus hops

Finish: almost vanilla, semi-sweet fruity hopped apple finish.

Summary: Although not visually pleasing, the flavour profile of fruity apple to a lemon-citrusy hopped finish is quite pleasant.Way better than the local Hoptimized Apple Cider (D) I had a couple of days ago.

Hoptimized Apple Cider – Merridale Ciderworks (Cobble Hill, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

Hoptimized Apple Cider – Merridale Ciderworks , 7.0% ABV – 650ml., (Cobble Hill, BC, Canada)

on the front side label:

“Hoptimized – Look closer, it’s a cider, not a beer! A real, all-natural craft cider that has  been HOPTIMIZED – made with COWICHAN VALLEY APPLES and finished with aromatic ISLAND-GROWN HOPS. A GLUTEN-FREE REFRESHING BEER ALTERNATIVE. We think Hoptimized is the perfect bridge between cider and beer, one that fans of either drink can enjoy anytime!”

  • Style: (hopped) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Dry-tart woody apple cider vinegar
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off) – 650ml., October 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: Hopped apple cider; say what?! Sounds interesting, and certainly my first. Pours light golden apple juice yellow with zero head and with just a barely visible layer of micro bubbly ringed retention, several slow streams in the center.

Nose: Sweet-tart-tangy-fruit woody apple juice with some funk. (Smells good) (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: dry tartness incoming acidity

Mid-palate: palate roughness (lvl-0)-sweetness, absolutely dry, vinegar acidic tanginess, (MAIN) woody red apples, yeastiness

Finish: residual acidic sourness, almost salty-hopped fruity apple finish.

Summary: For some odd reason the hoppiness I get from this cider is mixed with saltiness, particularly at the finish. Mixed with it’s bone dry profile, I cannot say I like this. Drinkable, but barely. Stick with Henry Westons Medium Dry Cider (B) if you like your ciders dry.